We are just over a week into #plasticfreejuly and a week into the mixed plastics export ban. The ban is extremely important as it puts more pressure on Australia to build its own facilities and to clean up our recycling. China and Indonesia blocked imports of waste from Australia and other nations last year and you might recall that the reasoning was largely because of contamination levels in the plastics.
The federal government passed its Recycling and Waste Reduction Act in Parliament last year to phase out export of waste plastics, paper, glass and tyres from 1 January, 2021. Glass exports were be prohibited from January 1 this year, export of whole new tyres will be banned by December 1 2021, unprocessed single resin/polymer plastics will be banned from July 1, 2022, and export of mixed and unsorted paper and cardboard will be banned from July 1, 2024.
From July 1, the ban is on for here different types of plastics are bundled together for export. For the next 12 months, plastic waste sorted into single resin or polymer types can still be exported, if exporters are granted a licence by the federal environment department, but after that, they too will be banned for export.
Some states have already built recycling facilities, but others are more than a year away from opening. There have been a flurry of grants given at every level of government to build processing facilities and educate citizens. The federal government announced $15 million in grants for nine projects in plastics, paper, glass and tyres which is expected to generate $40 million in co-investment from private companies. under round 10 of the Commonwealth's Cooperative Research Centre grants.